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J Dent Res. 1994 Dec;73(12):1811-7.

Physiological regulation of the secretion of histatins and statherins in human parotid saliva.

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Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology, Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry.


The small salivary phosphoproteins, histatins and statherins, have important functions in the oral cavity in terms of antimicrobial actions and regulation of calcium phosphate homeostasis. Neither the effects of various physiological stimuli on their secretion nor the nature of the efferent receptor involved in the stimulus-secretion coupling has been determined previously. These aspects are important for improved understanding of the secretory control of salivary proteins and may have implications regarding the effects of specific medications on salivary constituents and oral health. The effects of graded mechanical (chewing on short and long silicone tubings) and gustatory stimulation (0.5, 1.5, and 5.0% citric acid) on the secretion of histatins and statherins were studied in the presence and absence of adrenolytic agents (n = 10). In this model, secretory rates of both proteins increased with increases in flow rate, with 5.0% citric acid representing a particularly potent stimulus. Histatin and statherin secretory rates were significantly reduced by the beta 1-adrenolytic agent (histatins to 58 to 72% and statherins to 11 to 29% of that in corresponding control experiments), but not by the alpha 1-adrenolytic agent. Since the beta 1-adrenergic receptors played an important role in the stimulus-secretion coupling of these proteins, protective salivary functions in the oral cavity may be compromised during beta 1-adrenolytic treatment.

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